Compensation pledge for Fijian beef farmers

Herd of cattle in Waimaro, Tailevu. Picture: FT FILE/RAMA

BEEF farmers with animals suffering from tuberculosis and brucellosis will be compensated by Government.

While speaking at an informal discussion at Tilivalevu Village in Nadroga on Monday, Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy said the ministry carried out culling exercises which meant farmers would lose their animals.

“Livestock disease compensation is paid to farmers for the culling of animals for diseases that the authorities identify under relevant legislation,” he said.

“These diseases are usually those that cause economic losses, risks to human health due to diseases being zoonotic (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa) or diseases that can affect international trade markets.

“The compensation is paid for the value of the culled animals, to help farmers in their rehabilitation or recovery efforts, and to encourage farmers to collaborate with the relevant authorities in their disease reporting, and disease eradication and control programs.”

He also encouraged the farmers to make use of government programs to increase their production.

“Developing the local livestock industry remains a key priority of the ministry, especially beef, as Government continues in our efforts to reduce imports and produce locally for our own consumption as well as for the export markets.

“The livestock sector plays an important role as it contributes largely towards Fiji’s economy, and if you as farmers do your part and are serious in increasing production at the farm level, the agriculture sector will surely play an even more important role in Fiji’s economy in the coming years.”

Dr Reddy added that farmers should consider producing crops on a larger scale to supplement their livestock earnings.

“You can diversify and plant market-oriented produce whereby you will decide on five to six crops and we will help you to start with that.

“The ministry will link you directly to the market where the crops will be picked up directly from the farm.”

According to the ministry, there were 26 farmers under the Tilivalevu beef scheme on a total landmass of 2375.31 hectares with a total of 708 stock and 251 cows.

The group also has 25 goat farmers with a total stock of 162.

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